Stress test for a Dutch municipality

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1 Stress test for a Dutch municipality University Of Twente Business Administration Financial Management Master thesis Kemperink, T.F.J. s

2 The ability to weather storms depends on how seriously executives take risk management when the sun is shining and no clouds are on the horizon (Kaplan & Mikes, 2012) 1

3 Summary Municipalities are currently facing major financial challenges and uncertainties. The retrenchment of the central government and the related decline in revenues for the municipalities, the large and comprehensive decentralizations and the stagnated labor- and house markets have a significant impact on the financial position of municipalities. The municipality X is no exception to these trends and encounters these developments in their businesses. In order to deal with these developments, the municipality outlined control mechanisms in their corporate strategy. The stress test is one of those mechanisms. The municipality is not called by name because of the political sensitivity. That is why the name of the municipality is replaced by a random letter; X. The first chapter provides an overview of the thesis and describes the research conducted. First, the occasion of the subject, the research and the municipality X will be introduced, followed by an explanation of a stress test. The purpose of the stress test is to examine how stress resistant the financial position of the municipality X is and present which room for maneuver in policy and budget there is, now and in the coming years. The central research question in this thesis is based on the definition and purpose of a stress test and is defined as: How to develop a financial stress test to measure the financial position of a municipality and its ability to coop with stress? A research model is illustrated to outline the steps that are important to answer the research question and the illustrated sub questions. The second chapter gives an overview of the existing literature. Even though the research for financial stress in the public sector is rare, there are some scientific perspectives, which will be presented and illustrated. The two kinds of stress testing emerged out of these perspectives will be further explained in the second chapter. An effort was made to collect all the possible indicators and their variables with the literature research. In chapter three these indicators and variables are defined and emphasized. The actual operationalization is presented in the appendices two and three. The collection of data and the explanation of how to guarantee the reliability and validity of this stress test is described in the remainder of chapter three. The results are presented in chapter four and are based on the financial statements of the municipality X for the years 2008 to The numbers for het years 2013 to 2016 are forecasted and based on the multi-year budget and other relevant information. These numbers are only a forecast based on expectations and assumptions and therefore not definitive. The results of the stress test show that the financial position of the municipality X is under pressure through a number of important issues. The most important findings are: - The municipality has a relatively high debt position and this will increase in the coming years to a dangerous level; - Interest expenses increased due to the increased long-term loans; 2

4 - The exploitation has fallen sharply in recent years and it is expected that it still fall slightly; - The municipality has a relatively high local tax burden; - The reserves would be markedly reduced in the coming years; - Investment in land development and assets are extensive and financed with long-term loans; - There are major risks related to the land development projects; - There are major risks in scenarios such as the real estate crisis, the decentralizations and the government retrenchments. There are some recommendations made to deal with the mentioned issues. The final chapter critically reviews the results of this study and indicates to what extent the empirical investigations can be conducted to other municipalities and over time. Further investigation and continue improvements are necessary to coop with the developments and changing conditions for municipalities. This study not only proposes a conceptual model for measuring performance in financial terms but also exemplifies its usefulness for both researchers and practitioners. The stress test can serve as a useful tool for controlling the financial position and thereby reducing the risks. It should not only be carried out during crisis years, but as well in prosperous years and become a structural tool to map the financial position. 3

5 Table of Contents Summary... 2 List of Figures... 5 List of Tables Introduction Occasion Municipality X Financial Stress test Research Questions and Research Framework Theoretical Framework Theoretical perspectives on financial condition in municipality s Different kinds of stress tests Model financial position Research Method Measures Financial indicators Financial Scenarios Data Measurement reliability and validity Results Indicator-Testing Scenario Testing Discussion Conclusion References Appendix Appendix 1: Overview financial indicators in literature Appendix 2: Description and operationalization of financial indicators Appendix 3: Description and operationalization of financial scenarios Appendix 4: Mark table Resistance power Appendix 5: Balance

6 List of Figures Figure 1: Development of the population in the municipality X vs. Netherlands... 7 Figure 2: Research Framework Figure 3: Impact stress test in schedule Figure 4: Financial position of a municipality Figure 5: Income distribution Figure 6: Income dependency Figure 7: Local tax burden Figure 8: Resistance power Figure 9: Components equity Figure 10: Solvency rate Figure 11: Equity Figure 12: Development debt position Figure 13: Development net debt position Figure 14: Finance structure Figure 15: Provisions Figure 16: Development ground stock Figure 17: Development stockquote Figure 18: Debtquote in relation to stockquote Figure 19: Balance before and after appropriation Figure 20: Incidental income and expenses Figure 21: Effects of the Participation Act Figure 22: Scorecard Figure 23: The net debt position of Dutch municipalities, (Lei, 2011) Figure 24: Development long-term rent, Source: DNB (2012)

7 List of Tables Table 1: Comparison between different kinds of indicator stress testing Table 2: Comparison between different kinds of scenario stress testing Table 3: Income per income category Table 4: Local burden Table 5: Components equity Table 6: Outstanding loans Table 7: Debt per inhabitant and pertaining to exploitation Table 8: Loans and destination Table 9: Capital costs Table 10: Interest and capital costs pertaining to exploitation Table 11: Interest result Table 12: Rent-risk-standard Table 13: Provisions Table 14: Book value ground exploitations Table 15: Book value of not into exploitation taken grounds Table 16: Book value of provisions negative ground exploitations Table 17: Sales forecast housing Table 18: Ratio debtquote-stockquote Table 19: Guarantees Table 20: Balance before and after appropriation Table 21: Financing Table 22: Flexibility in budget Table 23: Results scenario financial crisis per variable Table 24: Results scenario Financial crisis Table 25: Results scenario Social-economic crisis Table 26: Results scenario Real estate crisis Table 27: Results scenario Number of citizens Table 28: Results scenario Government Retrenchment Table 29: Results scenario Decentralizations Table 30: Combination of scenarios Table 31: Combination of scenarios Table 32: Economic growth and unemployment Table 33: Number of citizens

8 1. Introduction This chapter provides an overview of the thesis and describes the research conducted. First, the occasion of the subject and the research will be explained. This is followed by an introduction of the municipality X in paragraph 1.2. The essence and principles of a financial stress test is made clear in paragraph 1.3. The central research question is presented in paragraph 1.4, which is supported by a number of sub questions. The research model is illustrated to outline the steps that are important to answer the research question and the sub questions. 1.1 Occasion Municipalities are currently facing major financial challenges and uncertainties. The retrenchment of the central government and the related decline in revenues for the municipalities, the large and comprehensive decentralizations and the stagnated labor- and house markets have a significant impact on the financial position of municipalities. The municipality X is no exception to these trends and encounters these developments in their businesses. In order to deal with these developments, the municipality outlined control mechanisms in their corporate strategy. These are incorporated in the business plan In this business plan 2012 of the municipality X, which was adopted by the board of Mayor and Aldermen on , is written that the memorandum risk management should be increased by a financial stress test in The purpose of this stress test is to examine how stress resistant the financial position of the municipality X is, and what space there is in policy and budget for them. 1.2 Municipality X The municipality is not called by name because of the political sensitivity. That is why the name of the municipality is replaced by a random letter; X. Projects and other characteristics are abbreviated or made unrecognizable. The municipality has experienced a very high population growth over the last decade, in comparison with the Netherlands (see figure 1). The population has increased more than 40% from 2003 to 2012 (Central Bureau of Statistics, CBS, 2012). Figure 1: Development of the population in the municipality X vs. Netherlands 7

9 1.3 Financial Stress test The stress test is since a several years an increasingly common topic in the Netherlands. The technical engineering sector was with the stress test for ICT companies, power plants and other (nuclear) installations the first sector that made use of a so-called stress test. Through the impact of the credit crisis in 2008 and the subsequent financial and economic crisis, there was reason for the development of a stress test for the financial sector; banks and insurance companies. In particular the stress tests for banks have frequently been in the public interest. Subsequently there were also stress test designed for housing corporations and the government. Following these developments, there were recently also developed stress tests for other government organizations, including municipalities What is a stress test? A single, unequivocal definition of a stress test isn t there. There are, among others, the following definitions compiled: Quagliariello (2009); An art which requires quantitative techniques, humane judgment and a series of discretionary assumptions. The IMF (2002): A key element of macro prudential analysis that helps to monitor and anticipate potential vulnerabilities in the system. Bouman & Gosselink (2012): A test that indicates the maximum load of ICT hardware, software, or an entire organization (financial). Concluded can be stated that s stress test is seen by many scientist as a kind of test, whereby the stability of a whole is tested. The whole is tested through quantitative techniques, estimates and assumptions with a heavier load than usual. It is also tested what the maximum load on the system is and when the system fails. Although all stress tests measure the stability of a whole, financial stress tests differ somewhat form the original stress test by focusing just on the financial stability and not the stability of the whole. As the stress tests at municipalities nowadays are focused to the financial stability, is in the remainder of this study, when speaking of a stress test, referred to a financial stress test for municipalities. This is in line with the desires of the municipality X Purpose stress test A number of stress tests for municipalities are developed by different consultancy firms. Purposes of these stress tests are: To map the structural vulnerabilities of a system of financial position and to utilize the resilience (SEO, 2012); Analyze the future-oriented fiancial stability and flexibility of a municipality in bad weather scenarios (Ernst & Young, 2012); To gain insight into the financial flexibility and resilience of the municipality (Deloitte, 2012); 8

10 Show how stress resistence the financial position of a municipality is and what room for maneuver there is in fiscal policy and budget (Bouman en Gosselink, 2012); The municipalities undergoing the test to convince to take actions, that either reduce the impact of the crisis or reduce the likelihood of the outbreak of the crisis (Quagliariello, 2009); A test of the flexibility to improve the structural budget and to test the level of reserves for absorbing the risks (BMC, 2012); To map the financial position of the municipality based on a number of indicators (Own tests of the municipalities Uithoorn en Heerlen, both 2012). The objectives are all very similar; mapping the financial position, the flexibility of this position and describing possible actions to improve the financial position. The purpose of this stress test for the municipality X is not different: Examine how stress resistant the financial position of the municipality X is and present which room for maneuver in policy and budget there is, now and in the coming years Opponents of the stress test About the usefulness and the need for a stress test for municipalities is differently judged. Some consider it unnecessary novelties and point out that there is already an arsenal of tools and indicators available to map the financial position of municipalities. The council could better use the existing sources to get grip on the municipal finances, than add yet another tool says Knaack (2011). Existing sources are: The planning and control cycle and related documents; Program budget with mandatory sections, including resistivity, ground policy and funding; Reports from the provincial supervisor; Periodic management reports; Management letter and memos; Financial statements, including the aforementioned paragraphs; Audit reporting on the fairness and legality; Account commissions and audit committee s; The Audit; The question- and the research right (Knaack, 2011). Opponents also argue that such an instrument does not add value if nothing is done with the results. In many cases, too little action taken on the basis of the available instruments and are underused. Therefore they don t want to perform a stress test if no strategic actions will be taken on the basis of the results. Finally, they claim that there are costs associated with the performing of a stress test. Although there are relatively few related costs (several thousand of Euro s), is the investment in the opinion of opponents of the test and many civilians, a useless investment. 9

11 1.3.4 Proponents of the stress test However, there are also a large number of proponents for the test. The Raad voor de financiële verhoudingen (Rfv; the advisory Board for the Department of Home affairs) wants to oblige the test, as it is for banks. If the test shows that the budget and multi-year estimates don t give a true picture of the financial position, should that be a reason to place municipalities under guardianship of the province says Bekkers (2012). The financial position is closely related to the resistivity of a municipality; the risks where the municipality is exposed to in relation to their equity. After all, the risks can provide the necessary financial instability. Reporting the resistivity and risk management is mandatory since 2004, but is in many municipalities qualitatively not in order: Despite of the legal obligation, does only 30 to 40 percent of the municipalities meet the BBV-rules about the resistivity (Mohanlal, 2012). Risk management is therefore particularly instrumental in nature and does not provide enough contribution to the management and control. Through a stress test, with a forward-looking assessment of risk and resistivity, risk management should be transparent and thereby improve the guidance of the council. Other arguments and advantages mentioned by proponents of the stress test are: It is a tool to increase understanding and knowledge of financial stability and room for maneuver so that councilors have a decision support model in making choices in the long-term policy; It is a tool for administrators to create urgency; It is a tool to keep the long-term financial planning in control; It is a tool to increase understanding and knowledge of the agents of the various relevant departments so that they begin to see the big picture; It is a transparent control model; It provides a benchmark with other municipalities; There can be made a historical comparison by repeating the test. Lines and patterns become clearer and the financial position can be better controlled. (Binnenlands bestuur, 2012). Municipalities have important social functions for its citizens and companies and make its expenditures with civil money. Therefore it should be expected from governmental organizations to control their risks and have their financial planning in order. A stress test can serve as a useful tool, upon condition that the results should lead to actions. 1.4 Research Questions and Research Framework The objective of a stress test is, as already mentioned; examining how stress resistant the financial position of a municipality is and what room for maneuver there is in fiscal policy and budget. But what is the financial position? At a company will be paid attention to the earnings, the equity and the expected results. But just at a municipality are the equity, earnings and results less important. The financial position has a few alternative definitions in the literature, such as financial condition, financial health and financial stress: this shows the existence of alternative names that correspond to 10

12 different methodological approaches on a common reality (Casal, Buch Goméz & Liste, 2012). The following definitions of the financial position are found in the literature: The financial position is the ability of a municipality in relation to their operations, taking risks into account (Mortel & Schormans, 2004); The financial position is the ability of a government to provide services and to meet its future obligations (Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB], 1987); Financial condition is the ability of an institution to meet its obligations as they come due and to finance the services its constituency requires (Mead, 2001); Financial condition is likely to meet the financial obligations due to creditors, employees, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, as well as obligations to serve their constituents in both the present and the future (Berne, 1992); The financial position is the ability of an organization to meet its financial obligations on time (Wang, Dennis & Tu, 2007); If the institution is capable of meeting its debts and in turn providing acceptable levels of services, we may say that it is in good financial health (Zafra-Gomez, López-Hernández & Hernández-Bastida, 2008). With a healthy financial position or condition is meant in this thesis: The structural ability to do all expenditures that are needed to meet the proposed level of provisions, even if there are certain setbacks. To the proposed level op provisions will be returned later and will be explained in more detail Research Question The following research question is drawn, based on the definition and purpose of a stress test: How to develop a financial stress test to measure the financial position of a municipality (/the municipality X) and its ability to coop with stress? Sub-Questions To support this research question, a few sub questions are formulated: Sub Question 1 What are important financial indicators to determine the financial position of the municipality X? Sub Question 2 Which scenarios should be tested to indicate financial stress problems in the municipality X? Sub Question 3 How developed the financial indicators in the past years? Sub Question 4 How should the impact of the different stress scenarios be measured for the municipality X? 11

13 Sub Question 5 How should the financial flexibility in the budget of the municipality X be determined? Research Framework There are a number of stress tests for municipalities developed in the last years, each one with its own research model. The research model presented in figure 2 is compound out of the different models. It contains elements of multiple studies. It is the intention to analyze the financial position of a municipality at a detailed level and to present it in a clear and convenient manner. The municipal financial position will be accessed in the model from a retrospective and a prospective manner, using the research question and sub questions. Financial position and indicators Identify exogenous scenarios Impact analysis / Financial consequences of the scenarios Flexibility analysis Results and actions Sub Questions 1 Sub Question 2 Sub Question Sub Question 5 Discussion, conclusions and recommendations Figure 2: Research Framework Principles and assumptions There is a legal framework for municipal finances. The Act funding local authorities (Fido), the Gemeentewet, the Authorities Budget and Accountability (GAP/BBV) and the Conditions evictions derivatives local governments (Ruddo) be considered as a given; A retrospective time scope of five years will be used, namely 2008 to 2012 A prospective time scope of four years will be used, namely 2013 to 2016; The financial statement of the previous years (2008 to 2012) and the multiannual budget are the basis of the test; For the benefit of the test is discussed with various specialist employees within and outside the municipality. The principles, accountings and outcomes are aligned with stakeholders and discussed with the concern controllers; The interdependence of various indicators is on main lines taken into account; The stress test is a relatively new instrument. It should therefore be seen as a model that can be further developed in the coming years. 12

14 2. Theoretical Framework Even though there are a number of models that predict financial distress in the private sector, such models are rare in the public sector (Cohen, Doumpos, Neofytou, & Zopounidis, 2012). The application of the private sector financial stress models in the public sector is unsuitable because of the differences in interpretation of the financial ratios. A high ROA (return on assets) or ROCE (return on capital employed) for example, is a desired outcome for corporations but it isn t for municipalities. However, even though the research for financial stress in the public sector is rare, there are some scientific perspectives. They will be presented and explained in the next paragraph. The two kinds of stress testing emerged out of these perspectives will be further explained in the following paragraphs. 2.1 Theoretical perspectives on financial condition in municipality s Among the various studies that are used to determine the financial position of a local authority (fiscal crisis, fiscal stress, fiscal distress, fiscal emergency, financial situation, or financial condition; Honadle, 2004), there is some debate in the literature which variables should be addressed, besides the financial variables, which are used in all the studied literature. As financial condition is a concept that is not directly observable, the problem that arises is what the most appropriate instruments to measure it are (Casal et al., 2012). There are a few proposals to assess financial position and they are influenced by the conceptual approach as the information available in each particular environment. The literature suggests a variety of indicators to use. There has not been consensus on what dimensions and specific indicators represent their status or value (Wang et al., 2007). In general, there are two major approaches for measuring the financial position of municipalities. One approach argues that the variables should measure the financial position in terms of financial variables. Diverse ratios and benchmarks have been used to evaluate governments financial condition, but there is no consistency in their selection, use, and application (Copeland & Ingram, 1983; Berne, 1992; Clark, 1994; Helden, 2000; Carmeli, 2002; Groves et al., 2003; Kloha et al., 2005(1); Kloha et al., 2005 (2); Wang et al., 2007; Cohen et al., 2012; Casal, Gomez and Liste, 2012). There is valid criticism that financial data do not always tell us the complete story in regard to other factors like policy, service programs, quality and availability. That s why the other approach suggests that other variables, beside the financial variables, should be taken into account in the determination of the financial position. These authors believe that, in particular, social and economic variables should be included (CICA, 1997; Greenberg and Hillier, 1995; Groves, Godsey, and Shulman, 2003; Murray and Dollery, 2005; Jones and Walker, 2007; Sohl et al., 2009; Hendrick, 2009; Zafra-Gómez et al., 2009;). Wang, Dennis & Sen (2007) summarize this different points of view: Some authors consider that the socioeconomic environment is just another factor to be taken into account within the financial condition, whereas others are of the opinion that the latter is only constituted of the financial variables affecting the local authority and that socioeconomic factors affect local finances but should not be included as an additional factor within the financial condition. 13

15 Financial variables A common refrain in the fiscal indicator literature is that no single indicator can paint the whole picture of a government s fiscal position (Kloha, 2005). In the following section are authors highlighted which have researched the concept of financial condition on the basis of specific financial indicators. Kloha et al. (2005) developed a 10-point scale of fiscal distress where nine specific variables are created that directly measure a concept from the public finance literature; (1) Population growth, (2) real taxable value growth, (3) large real taxable value decrease, (4) general fund expenditures as a percentage of taxable value, (5) general fund operating deficit, (6) prior general fund operating deficits, (7) size of general fund balance, (8) fund deficits in the current or previous year and (9) general longterm debt as a percentage of taxable value. A standard is set to distinguish the performance and give a score on each variable. Finally, the scores are counted and classified to a fiscal category; healthy, watch, warning of emergency. Cohen et al. (2012) build an operational model for evaluating the financial viability of municipalities, using information retrieved by accrual financial statements. They distinguished six financial variables; (1) Total liabilities/total assets (2) Own revenues/total liabilities (3) Short term liabilities/own revenues (4) Operating expenses/own revenues (5) Subsidies/population (6) Own revenues/population. These variables were rated to importance (respectively 13%; 24,6%; 16,2%; 14,4%; 17,2%; 14,6%) using a formula. This model is easy to apply for benchmark purposes. Helden (2000) described a framework for describing the municipal financial position. He only used the financial variables (1) Reserve fund, (2) Provision fund, (3) Sum of these, (4) Necessary budget cut and the (5) Tax potential. He took other financial variables into consideration but disregarded them because of the relatively small influences. Honadle and Lloyd-Jones (1998) compared three methodologies; Brown s ten-point test of financial condition, Alter s Ten-Year Trends and ICMA s financial Trend Monitoring System. Brown s ten-point test consists of ten financial ratio s to measure four aspects of financial condition; Revenues, expenditures, operating position and debt structure. Ted Alter s ten-year trends are used to forecast revenues and expenditures. The Internation City Management Association (ICMA) has developed a set of thirty-six indicators for evaluating the financial condition of cities. These cover aspects such as revenues, expenditures, operating position and debt structure, and are plotted over a five-year period to show warning trends. They conclude that these are useful and small rural jurisdictions need tools like these to monitor their financial condition on a regular basis. Carmeli (2002) made a framework of performance measurement in financial terms and divided variables into two categories short-term variables and two categories long-term variables. Short-term variables are current ration, self-income ratio, surplus ratio in the ordinary budget and surplus per resident ratio. Long-term variables are collecting (tax and fees) efficiency ratio, collecting per resident ratio, extraordinary budget income to loans load ratio, municipal development expense per resident, local service expense per resident. These last two variables already have a more socio-economic base, but are operationalized in financial terms. 14

16 Wang et al. (2007) developed a measure of financial condition based on the government-wide reporting framework, established by GASB Statement No. 34 (U.S.A.). They define the financial condition as the level of financial solvency, which includes the dimensions of cash, budget, long-run and service-solvency. They use 11 financial indicators: Cash-, Quick- and Current-ratio to measure the cash solvency; Operating ratio and Surplus (deficit) per capita for measuring budget solvency; Net asset ratio, Longterm liability ratio and Long-term liability per capita for long-run solvency; Tax per capita, Revenue per capita and Expenses per capita for measuring for service solvency. The results show that the financial condition measure is relatively reliable and valid in measuring financial condition, and that it provides a useful reporting framework to evaluate the financial condition of a government (Wang et al., 2007). Casal, Gómez and Liste (2012) analyzed whether the multiple indicators of the financial realities of local municipalities in Spain reflect the dimensions of analysis of financial condition. They took the approaches of CICA (1997, 2009) and ICMA (2003) into account and developed a battery of 33 financial indicators. They tested these indicators with information of 5823 Spanish municipalities. In general, it can be concluded that using financial data in performance measurement may benefit the management of local government, as well as the public (Carmeli, 2002). Socioeconomic variables Jones and Walker (2007) developed a model to explain sources of distress in local government. Distress is interpreted as an inability to maintain pre-existing levels of services to the community. In their research, 161 Australian municipalities were compared, based on their data regarding service levels. Service delivery was the dependent variable, as council characteristics, local service delivery variables, infrastructure variables and financial variables are the explanatory variables. Their main finding was that higher road program costs were associated with higher level of financial distress. Groves, Godsey, and Shulman (2003) developed a concept that assumed that social, economic, and demographic factors influence the financial position of a municipality. They state that the financial situation of a municipality can be measured through the concepts of short-term solvency and budgetary solvency. Solvency can be considered using a series of indicators related to sustainability, flexibility, and vulnerability (CICA, 1997; Greenberg and Hillier, 1995). Sustainability is defined as an entity s ability to maintain, promote, and preserve its citizens welfare by means of available resources. Flexibility is its capability of responding to changes in economic and financial circumstances, within the limits of its fiscal powers. Vulnerability reflects an entity s level of dependence on the external financing received, that is, from transfers and subsidies. Zafra-Gómez et al. (2009) build further on this concept that the socioeconomic factor should be taken into account. They developed a system for monitoring the financial condition of municipalities, providing an evaluation of all the elements that make up the financial condition, including an assessment of the quality of the services provided as a means of measuring service-level solvency. The financial variables, are measured for influence from (1) service variables like the quality of roads, surface of public parks, street lighting and waste collection and (2) socioeconomic variables like domestic income per capita, registered unemployment, industry, commerce, tourism, population aged less than 14 years, population 15

17 aged more than 65 years, net migration rate and dwellings per capita. They find that the financial position of local authorities depend to a large extent on the characteristics of the social and economic environment. After investigating 475 local authorities in Spain they conclude that a local authority s capacity to improve its financial position depends in part on the income levels of its population and on the level of economic activity in the region. Sohl, Peddle, Thurmaier, Wood, and Kuhn (2009) reviewed the literature on financial position and condition, and then developed a methodological approach that created a cohort of similar cities for benchmarking financial position and forming a basis for assessing financial condition. They claim that financial position is a relative position for financial indicators, and financial condition is the objective measure for financial indicators. They defined a lot of socioeconomic indicators to generate a cohort group for benchmarking. For further research they suggest 24 financial indicators for determining the financial condition. Murray and Dollery (2005) evaluate the process of performance monitoring in New South Wales, Australia. Local governments are assessed by the NSW department of Local Government (DLG) to either be at risk or not at risk, on the basis of a range of 30 key performance indicators, including financial results, infrastructure status, employment information etc. Murray and Dollery analyzed those councils that have been identified as at risk with 10 financial variables. They conclude that the existing monitoring lists cannot provide an accurate representation of at risk councils, and may in fact not be in a parlous financial state at all. Exclusion of Socioeconomic variables When we look to the purpose of a financial stress test, it is mostly concerned with the internal financial position of the municipality. Although I think socioeconomic and demographic variables affect the financial position in a certain way, the inclusion of nonfinancial socioeconomic and demographic factors in measuring financial condition is questionable; Socioeconomic factors may affect financial condition, but they are not financial condition itself. Additionally, exactly how socioeconomic factors affect financial condition is mostly unknown; therefor, the use of these factors in measuring financial condition can be arbitrary and sometimes erroneous. For example, population growth and high personal income are nonfinancial socioeconomic factors, which are believed to positively influence financial condition in existing literature. However, these indicators may also demand greater public spending in certain areas which may eventually worsen the government s financial condition. Financial reports vary from country to country, which makes the possibility of conducting international comparative studies difficult (Carmeli, 2002). There s a very other policy in the Netherlands, compared to many other countries. The Dutch government collects the taxes (excluding OZB and some local taxes) from all Dutch citizens. A large part of these taxes are put in a fund for all municipalities. The distribution of the fund is arranged so, that it should reduce the differences in socioeconomic variables between municipalities. Municipalities which have poorer socioeconomic factors (based on 62 socioeconomic indicators) are compensated with 16

18 relative more money of the fund. That s why the share of the municipality fund is already reflecting a lot of socioeconomic factors. The needs aspect of the financial position is very difficult to operationalize for oversight purposes because there are widely varying estimates of what a community needs, even within the same state (Kloha et al., 2005, p. 314). That s why socioeconomic factors should not be included as an additional factor in the financial condition of municipalities, and therefore aren t included in the stress test. The use of mostly financial data may yield some essential benefits. First, and perhaps most important, it can inform us as to the real financial situation of the local authority. A local authority with an inferior financial position lacks the resources to supply services at the appropriate volume and quality, not to mention to develop short- and long-range services and infrastructure programs. Second, although it is somewhat difficult to evaluate policy through financial data, a careful analysis may yield some benefits, mainly in exploring the extent of the direct inputs made by the local authority. This concept is reflected by the call for benchmarking the level of municipal development (Carmeli, 2002). Overview financial variables As already stated in the previous paragraphs, there is little agreement on what financial variables, indicators and dimensions definitively represent the concept of financial condition. That s why the existing financial condition literature is used to guide the selection of financial indicators employed in this stress test. An effort was made to present financial indicators that are commonly used and considered valid by both researchers and financial statement users. Appendix 1 presents a comparison between all the used financial dimensions and their indicators. This comparison is used, together with the comparison presented in the next paragraph, to select the most important indicators and variables. 2.2 Different kinds of stress tests Since the beginning of the financial and economic crisis in 2008, a few consultancy firms introduced the financial stress test for municipalities, which are testing the financial position of municipalities. They can be classified in two kinds of stress tests: 1. Tests that analyze the financial position according to financial indicators, examples are: Deloitte (Indicator testing; ten-to-sixteen indicators including benchmark) BMC (Indicator testing; six indicators) JE Consultancy (Indicator testing; Fourteen indicators and Retrenchment scan) 2. Tests that analyze the financial position according to the impact of different scenarios, examples are: SEO (Scenario testing; Five emergency scenarios) Ernst & Young (Scenario testing; Two bad weather scenarios) Berenschot (Scenario testing; Scenarios in three domains) 17

19 The municipalities of Uithoorn (seventeen indicators), Hilversum (five scenarios), Heerlen (fourteen indicators) and Haarlem (seven indicators) have developed their own stress test in addition to the existing stress test from the consultancy firms Indicator-testing The most popular and commonly used stress test by municipalities is the indicator-testing test. This test attempts to declare the financial position of municipalities on the base of predetermined financial indicators. The indicators are selected by the consultancy firm or municipality, or can be adjusted by the municipality concerned. There are six different indicator-testing stress tests designed. These tests are compared to each other to find similarities and differences between the tests. The six stress tests distinguish 26 financial indicators to determine the financial position. Most of these indicators are used by multiple tests: seventeen indicators are used by three or more tests. Six indicators are only used once; Income dependency, loss of property tax, reserves/assets, debt/ground exploitation, replacement investments and EMU-balance. The results of this comparison are presented in table 1. Nr. Indicator Deloitte BMC JE Cons. Uithoorn Heerlen Haarlem 1 Income dependency x 2 Local charges x x x x x x 3 Unused tax capacity x x x 4 Loss of property tax through vacancy rate x 5 Resistance power x x x x x 6 Reserve position x x x x x 7 Reserves / Assets x 8 Debt ratio x x x x x 9 Debt /Citizen x x x x x 10 Debt /Exploitation x x x x x x 11 Debt/Ground exploitation x 12 Interest expenses x x x x 13 Interest of own financing resources x x x 14 Interest allocated to investments & GREX x x x 15 Rent-risk-norm x x 16 Provisions x x x 17 Savings for maintenance x x x x x 18 Replacement investments x 19 Ground exploitations x x x x x x 20 Not into exploitation taken grounds x x x x 21 EMU-balance x 22 Related parties x x 23 Guarantees x x x x x 24 Budget x x x x x x 25 Budget flexibility x x x 26 Incidental gains and losses x x Table 1: Comparison between different kinds of indicator stress testing 18

20 2.2.2 Scenario-testing The scenario-testing stress test was introduced in 2012 and is therefore a relative new kind of test. This test attempts to analyze the impact of simulated exogenous stress scenarios on the financial position of municipalities. The most relevant parameters, based on the specific nature, are chosen to predict each scenario and analyze their consequences. There are four different scenario-testing tests designed. These tests are compared to each other to find similarities and differences between them. The four tests distinguish seven comparable scenarios, to analyze their potential impact on the financial position. The test of SEO and Berenschot determines a base path for future years to subsequently calculate the impact of the stress scenarios as deviation of this path. The test of Ernst & Young and the municipality Hilversum analyze the impact of two stress scenarios, a light and a heavy one, to determine the impact on the current financial position. Nr. Scenario area SEO Ernst & Young Berenschot Hilversum 1 Financial crisis (Interest, inflation) x x x x 2 Social-Economic crisis (Unemployment) x x x x 3 Real estate crisis (House market) x x x x 4 Government Retrenchment x x x x 5 Humanitarian disaster x 6 Decentralizations x 7 Citizens (#) x Table 2: Comparison between different kinds of scenario stress testing In practice, it is possible that multiple scenarios or shocks simultaneously occur. Indeed, given the financial-economic character of a number of these scenarios, it is very likely that if one of these scenarios occurs, some other will too. It is therefore important to take into account the interdependence between the scenarios and the possibility that their effect cumulate Differences and Similarities between the different kinds of stress tests The stress test for indicator testing gives a baseline (a zero-measure) for the current financial position on the basis of current financial indicators. One indicator stress test is also using historic data, to see the development of the indicators over time. They are only using hard numbers. The stress test for scenario testing on the other hand, gives a future measurement of the current and expected financial position, based on budgeted and projected financial scenarios. To approximate the projected financial scenarios, some indicators are used. Roughly approximated, both stress tests are using the same indicators. 19

21 Indicator Stress test Scenario Stress test Past Now Future Figure 3: Impact stress test in schedule Because both stress test focus on different points in time (history, present, future), and largely use the same indicators they can complement each other, by integrating both tests into one bigger test Comparison stress tests with literature When we look to the existing stress tests for Dutch municipalities and the literature to determine the financial condition of municipalities, there are some striking facts. First, the literature as well as the stress tests suggesting a variety of indicators to use. So the conclusion of Wang et al. (2007) was true; there has not been consensus on what specific indicators represent their status or value. Second, although there were a lot of differences in the composition of the indicators, almost all the indictors mentioned in the literature came back in the stress tests (except the rent-risk-norm and the resistance power, which are typically Dutch expressions). Third, all indicators which were used three times or more in the stress tests, are strongly expressed in the literature. Except for the resistance power, all these indicators were mentioned by multiple researchers in the literature to have a specific relation to financial condition. So there is a strong relation between the indicators used in the literature and the indicators used in the stress tests. 2.3 Model financial position In the previous paragraph we identified a number of indicators to get a better insight in the financial position. These indicators will be explained in more detail in the next chapter. The schematic representation of the financial position is presented in figure 4, with the financial indicators and the exogenous scenarios of the various stress tests. This model and the classification of the financial indicators emerged out of different models, like the financial position model of Deloitte (2010), the resistance power model of Gerritsen (2003), Series financial function from the municipality Apeldoorn (2008). It outlines that the financial position of a municipality not only depends on internal risk-indicators but also on possible external risks. As Carmeli and Cohen (2002) already stated: The financial situation of a local authority is a result of internal as well as external factors (p.894). 20

22 Financial position Facility-level Internal External Resitance Power Risks Insurances Provisions Related parties Resistance capacity Reserves Contingencies Unused tax capacity Retrenchement opportunities Guarantees from thirth Budget Flexible & Balanced Debt position Local charges Replacement investments Incidental gains/losses EMU-Balance Groundexploitations Guarantees to thirth Scenarios Financial crisis Social-economic crisis Real estate crisis Government Retrenchement Humanitarion disaster Decentralizations Number of citizens Figure 4: Financial position of a municipality Facility-level As already stated in previous chapters, it s very dependent on the proposed quality of facility-level of the municipality. That s why the facility-level is the most important indicator of the financial position. It is the quality of the products and services received by the population, their customers, to meet the needs of the citizens. The facility level can always be better, and therefore more expensive. But what is an acceptable quality level of facilities for a municipality? Because needs are hard to operationalize and widely varying, they are therefore hardly to achieve. So it should be as high as possible. The facility-level is determined by the council and can be adjusted to a higher or lower level. In this research, however, is assumed that the given, current level of facilities won t be adjusted. 21

23 3. Research Method An effort was made to collect all possible indicators and their measures with literature research. After defining and emphasizing all these indicators, which is described in the next paragraph, the indicators are tested, on the municipality X in particular. The collection of the data will be explained in the second paragraph. The result of the data will be explained in chapter 4; Results. 3.1 Measures Given all the dimensions, indicators and specific variables from the literature, as well as the recent developed stress tests, I sought a new measure of financial condition that would avoid the problems, mentioned in the literature, and meet eight key criteria: Measurement validity, so that components operationalize concepts from theories of financial condition Measurement reliability, so that measures are free from random measurement error Predictive ability, so that preventive action can recognize distress before it becomes a financial emergency Relevance to the municipalities interest Use uniform, and frequently collected data (mostly public available) Historical sense Accessible and easily understood by local officials and those who are interested Resistant to manipulation Financial indicators A lot of different financial indicators are used in stress tests and in the literature, as already stated in the previous chapter. The indicators are classified, substantiated, supported by more specific literature and operationalized with measures for using the indicators. The extensive and detailed description of all these financial indicators is attached in appendix 2. The indicators and variables are selected on the base of the literature review and the comparison of the stress tests Financial Scenarios This paragraph describes the development of financial scenarios to test the financial position of the municipality. A flow diagram is presented to describe the principles and structure of each scenario: Flow diagram 1 The first step is the identification of the different scenarios. In the existing stress tests, the literature and within current developments in the area of municipalities can several possible scenarios be identified. 2 The second step is the explanation of the scenario according two principles, Heavy and Extreme. These scenarios should be plausible; the recognized variables should be close to the reality. In consultation with specialists should be aligned if all related variables are taken into account. 3 The third step is to determine how these scenarios affect the municipality. It is necessary to operationalize and determine the relationship between the scenario and the effects on the 22

24 financial statements of the municipality. Possible is to map all automatic responses in policy. These responses in policy are not the cause of the scenario, but are inextricably linked to the scenario. Explanations of the results can be found in the individual indicators, which are described above. 4 The fourth step is to decide if the determined results of the financial scenarios are acceptable. If not, policy should be made or be adjusted to make the financial statements acceptable. 5 The fifth step is to calculate the impact of this new or adjusted policy, with the help of the financial scenarios. 6 The sixth en final step is to determine the social impact on society of the changing financial situation. The fourth, fifth and sixth steps are not part of this thesis. Each scenario is specifically developed for four years, even as the calculated effects. It is assumed that the policy of the government is constant, so no effects of changing government policy are expected, except for the government retrenchment as modeled in the fourth scenario. The description and operationalization of each scenario is attached in appendix 3. For each scenario is defined which influences the scenario has on the financial statements of the municipality. 3.2 Data First, to picture the historical financial position from the municipality X, data was collected using the annual reports from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and Some indicators were already explained in the annual reports, others had to be calculated or figured out with other information files. Second, to figure out the current financial position from the municipality X, much more data was collected; the annual report of 2012, COELO-rank, tax information, maintenance schedules, ground exploitation information and more specific information from departments in the municipality. Third, to project the future financial position from the municipality X, data was collected from the multiyear budget, the investment planning and also more specific information from departments in the municipality. For a better understanding of the data, there was a lot of dialogue with employees with a good understanding of the specific variables and mechanisms. The data is used for the calculation of the financial indicators as well as the financial scenarios. 23

25 3.3 Measurement reliability and validity There are two main test properties when making a good instrument: The reliability and the validity of the measuring instrument. It is important that there is a good understanding of these properties, so the quality of the measuring instrument should be optimized. Measurement validity When making a test instrument like a stress test, it is important to oversee the design validity. In this study, three attributes will be examined to assess the level of measurement validity (Babbie, 2007): - Face validity - Content validity - Criterion validity Face validity This is also seen as the validity itself. The question that is central is: Does the test measure what the test is intended to measure? The face validity requires that the financial condition measures consist of indicators that make intuitive sense in measuring financial condition. Previous literature and previously designed stress tests have confirmed that the use of these indicators will measure financial condition. Content validity The content validity examines whether the test measures the entire concept. Many concepts have a wide domain. A test has to measure all aspects of it, if it wants to be representative reflection of the concept. The completeness of the test plays a role. By studying all the published stress tests and taken all variables and indicators into account, it can be said that this test does measure the entire concept, and not only parts of it. In addition to the studied stress tests, there was a large literature study, with literature about the financial condition. The observation was not only in national literature, but consists of a lot of national as international articles and books. The measure of the concept of financial condition should therefore be improved and the content validity thereby to. Criterion validity The criterion validity means: To what extent does the test have a predictive value? If the predictive validity is high, the test is a good predictor to predict future behavior. The use of the government-wide information, required by the BBV satisfies this attribute largely. The use of the multiannual budget for instance, improves the predictive value. The budget is namely estimated by specialist in the municipality. Calculations, estimations and assumptions of the plausible scenarios give even a better predictive value of the financial condition. A bandwidth of the financial condition is made, based on the possible international, national and local movements. 24

26 Measurement reliability This is widely known as the degree to which measure is free from random measurement error (Babbie, 2007). In cases where a measure consists of multiple indicators, a method to estimate random measurement errors is to assess a measure s internal consistency based on the idea that random measurement errors vary from one indicator to another within the same measure. Large variation (or lack of correlation) among indicators indicates large random errors. In the case of financial condition of municipalities there are multiple indicators with multiple measures for each indicator. An estimation of reliability is to assess whether these different measures or variables fit into an indicator. In other words, the variables should be grouped to indicators. These indicators should measure the financial condition of a municipality. Two criteria are used in this study to assess the reliability of the overall measure of financial condition. First, the variables used to measure each indicator of financial condition should be related. Some indicators however only use one measure. Second, the indicators assessing financial condition should be associated with each other based on the idea that though these indicators, different aspects of financial condition will be measured. In the end, they all assess the same concept, namely; financial condition. 25

27 4. Results The presented results in this chapter are based on the financial statements of the municipality X for the years 2008 to The numbers for het years 2013 to 2016 are forecasted and based on the multi-year budget and other relevant information. These numbers are only a forecast based on expectations and are not definitive. 4.1 Indicator-Testing Income dependency The distribution of the total income of the municipality X in the recent years and the expected income for the coming years is displayed in table 3. The total income has experienced some fluctuations in the recent years, from 103,7 million at maximum in 2008 to at least 92,5 million in * Diff. Municipal fund Other government contributions Lands Exploitation OZB Other taxes and charges Dividend & profit distributions Remaining Total income Table 3: Income per income category 2% 6% Government fund 12% Other government contributions 38% Lands Exploitation 8% OZB Other taxes and charges Dividend and profit distributions Remaining 26% 8% Figure 5: Income distribution

28 Through a significant increase of the municipal fund in the past five years is the income dependency of the municipal fund in 2012 with 41,8% relative high. The average dependency in the Netherlands is 36% for all municipalities (Allers, 2011). The expectation is that the dependency will decrease to 38% and subsequently will stabilize at 39%. This is slightly above the average. The dependence of the total government contributions has increased in recent years to 50,3% of the total revenues. This is a relative low dependence of the total government contributions when we look at all municipalities: on average 54% (36% municipal fund and 18% specific contributions). It is striking to see that the specific benefits in the municipality X fall far short on national average, only 8%. The total government contributions are expected to stabilize around the 46%, which is relatively low. The Atlas Rijksuitkeringen aan gemeenten (2012) shows that the municipality X received 44% less government contributions per inhabitant, in comparison to the national average. This is explained by the amount of decentralization and integration contributions, and the specific contributions per inhabitant of the municipality; respectively 67% an 69% below the national average per inhabitant. The municipal fund per inhabitant is also 25% lower for X than the average payment per inhabitant (Coelo, 2012). This explains the low dependence of the total government contributions compared to the slightly above average dependency of the municipal fund. 60,0% 50,0% 40,0% 30,0% 20,0% 10,0% Government fund Total contributions of government Ground exploitations 0,0% Figure 6: Income dependency The Raad voor financiële verhoudingen (RFV) calculated that the average share of the ground exploitation in Dutch municipalities is about 20% of the total income (Van der Lei, 2011). The share of the ground exploitation at the municipality X is the last four year on average 25%. The proportion of ground sales from the total income was always relatively high, compared to other Dutch municipalities. It is expected that the income from ground exploitations will stabilize at a more than average level of 27% in the coming years. 27

29 Local charges The local tax burden for citizens is recorded by COELO (2012). This research company examines the local tax burden on citizens and compares municipalities based on the local charges for a multi-person household. They produce a ranking based on this data; rank 1 represents the lowest charges. Table 6 shows the data relating to the tax burden for the inhabitants of the municipality X in comparison to all Dutch municipalities Difference Local tax-burden X Mean in NL Deviation 15,6% 11,2% 8,5% 10,3% 10,1% -53,7% Rank on COELO-list Number of municipalities Table 4: Local burden The municipality X has a relatively high tax burden, with 69 more than the average per person in the Netherlands. This is more than 10% higher than the average level of taxes. That is why the municipality is at a relative low position on the COELO rank for the local taxes: 324 of the 437 (part) municipalities. The local taxes for multi-person households in X increased with 25 in the past five years. The average increase in the Netherlands is 54, so the increase in X is lower than the average in the Netherlands. So the deviation is decreased with 29 over the past five years Local Tax burden ( ) Mean in NL ( ) Rank on Coelorank (Nr.) Figure 7: Local tax burden The difference in trend lines of the tax burdens is clearly narrowed in recent years, as figure 7 shows. This is partly the reason that the municipality has raised 67 places in the ranking of COELO (from place 391 to 324). The other reason is that in 2012 there are 28 municipalities less than in This is the consequence of a number of mergers between municipalities. 28

30 According to the stress test of Heerlen is the score on the variable determined by the deviation of the average tax burden in the Netherlands. A deviation of five percent above or below the mean is the standard. The municipality X has a burden which is 10,1 percent higher than the average tax burden in the Netherlands. This score is insufficient. However, the difference decreased in the recent years, so the trend line is positive. Unused tax capacity The property tax revenues may show a limited annual increase for all municipalities nationwide (macro standard). This standard is set for 2013 on 3% and includes acreage expansion. The increase in revenues is decisive, and not the increase in tariff. There is a possibility in difficult financial times to use the part of the tax capacity that is not exploited yet. The council of X has determined in the administrative agenda that only an increase in property tax may be made on the basis of inflation rates. Additional increases are therefore excluded. The property tax annually by 2% in recent years and 2,5% in 2013, which is equal to the inflation rates. The property tax revenues of the municipality X will increase from 2013 ( 7,79 million) to 2014 (8,05 million) by 3,3%, which is including the acreage expansion. Since this is already above the macro standard of 3%, it is assumed that a further increase in property tax revenues is not possible. The municipality has therefore no unused tax capacity. If the acreage expansion will be excluded and only the increase in tariff is determinative, then could the municipality enter an additional property tax increase of 0,5%. This would amount to an additional income of , which is only 0,034% of the total income. The unused tax capacity is thus very low. Loss of property tax due to vacancy A high vacancy rate can cost the municipality money; because there is a loss in the property tax revenues. At the moment there is a loss of revenues, the score is unfavorable. There is a direct relationship between property tax revenues from non-residential and the vacancy rate. There is currently an investigation going to the vacancy in the municipality and the effects of this vacancy rate for the miss of property tax. The results will have to wait, due to some problems in the numbers of the tax-department of the municipality. Cost covering of charges and fees This variable shows the extent to which the costs are covered by the benefits. Certain tariffs are maximized to 100% cost recovery and the benefits may not exceed the costs. If the cost-effectiveness is lower, there may be room to raise more benefits. The sewer charges didn t succeed to be cost-effective; the costs exceeded the benefits by 0,6 million. The sewer charges are therefore an opportunity to increase the revenues. There are also opportunities in the municipality X to increase the revenues from fees. These have an average cost recovery of 72%. The total additional space for the municipality to increase this income is 0,85 million. The possible 29

31 revenues of these increases is 1,3% of the total operations, which means relatively much additional revenues. Resistance power The systematics of the BBV was used in calculating the resistance power in the municipality X. This implies that destination reserves are not involved in the consideration of the resistance capacity. Some municipalities are interpreting these rules differently. In figure 8 is to see that the first risk assessment was established in 2009, since structural risk management was only recently introduced in The resistance capacity has made a small increase in recent years. This is due to the slightly increase of the general reserve. The year 2010 was due to the high operating result an outliner in terms of the resistance capacity. The expectation is that the resistance capacity will decrease the coming years. Assumed is that the assessed risks, either the required resistance power, after the 2012 remain on the same level. This assumption is made because we have no prospective ideas of possible changes in the risk-level. The resistivity, or resistance power, has a large fluctuation, arising from the outliner in resistance capacity, mentioned above. The resistance power remains structurally, until 2015, above the 1,0. This means that the resistivity of the municipality is sufficient according to the standard table that the VNG has developed in collaboration with the University of Twente (Appendix 1). It is expected that the resistance power will decrease in from 1,21 in 2013 to 0,84 in This would mean that the resistance power become moderate ,40 1,30 1,20 1,10 1,00 0,90 0,80 0,70 Resistance capacity ( ) Risks ( ) Resistance power ,60 Figure 8: Resistance power As stated previously, the resistance power is a product of multiple dimensions and indicators. These different dimensions and indicators will detailed be addressed in the remainder of this chapter. 30

32 Reserve position A distinction is made in the municipality X between the following components of equity: - General reserve: This reserve isn t given any destination and is therefore in principle freely to deploy. The general reserve is completely included in the resistance capacity. - Operating result: The annual result after destination is included in the equity - Destination reserves serving investments: Structural funds are extracted for these reserves to cover structural costs. This concerns the reserves which serve to cover the capital costs of investments. Examples are the reserves for the S-school, the Municipal accommodation and sport complex G.W.. Characteristic for these reserves is that the amount of the reserve is equal to the carrying amount of the investment and that the accrued interest is as high as the rate for the capital costs. The saved interest of the reserve is equal to the fixed interest cover for the allocation of capital costs and is entirely added to these reserves. - Destination reserve BOVO: These reserves have been established for financing district facilities that fall beyond the borders of zoning plans. The reserve is fund by multiple ground complexes. Examples are the reserves for the K-street and the T-street. - Other destination reserves: These reserves have been established with a specific purpose. The utilization has by definition an occasional nature. Examples are the reserves official residence, sustainable safeness and business operations. - Provisions for maintenance: As described in the operationalization of the indicators (appendix 1), the provision for facilities have the nature of a reserve and are therefore included in the equity. Examples of maintenance provisions are the provisions for maintenance of buildings and roads. The development of these components of equity is schematically and graphically presented in table 5 and figure 9. * Diff. General reserve Operating result Destination reserves for historic investments Destination reserves BoVo Other destination reserves Total Destination reserves Maintenance provisions Equity Table 5: Components equity The absolute equity of the municipality X has remained constant in the recent years, with a positive peak in It is expected that the downward trend from then, continues in the coming years. The downward trend becomes even more obvious. This is caused by the negative movements of all items of 31

33 Numbers * 1000 the equity, see figure 9. Both the total destination reserves as the operating result will show a downward trend Equity ( ) General reserve ( ) Operating result ( ) Maintenance provisions ( ) Total Destination reserves ( ) Figure 9: Components equity The operating result was positive in all previous years, with a positive peak in 2010 of 6,5 million. This outlier explains, along with the increase in the general reserve, the increase of the equity in For the coming years is a nil result expected and for the years 2015 and 2016 even a negative result. This will be explained in more detail by the indicator budget. Solvency rate The relative equity of the municipality X, also known as the solvency rate, has decreased in recent years (see figure 10). This decrease in proportion equity of the total assets is explained by an increase in total assets. The rate of 35% in 2008 fell to 29% in The expected decrease in equity for the coming years will also affect the solvency rate. It is expected that the ratio will fall further to 20,8% in The slight decrease in total assets still has some mitigating effect on the decrease of the ratio. 32

34 Numbers * ,0% 40,0% 35,0% 30,0% 25,0% 20,0% 15,0% 10,0% 5,0% 0,0% Equity ( ) Total assets ( ) Solvency rate (%) Figure 10: Solvency rate According to Gerritsen and Allers (2002) is a solvency rate of 30% healthy for municipalities. When the equity is lower than 30% of the total assets, caution is advised. This is in line with the VNG and Zandvoort (2012). They quantify a solvency rate of 20% or less as a low degree of equity financing. The municipality X still remains above the standard of the VNG and around the standard of Gerritsen and Allers with 29%. So they have a healthy solvency rate. However, the expectation is that the solvency rate of the municipality in 2016 is slightly above the 20% and thus has a low degree of equity financing. Equity position in relation to exploitation The development of the equity in relation to the exploitation has a number of strong fluctuations as can be seen in figure 11. This can be explained by the strong variations in the exploitation. The high exploitation in 2011 is obvious to see. In 2008 the equity in relation to the exploitation was approximately 54%, in % and it will decline to 47% in This is the buffer ratio. The higher this ratio, the better it is. However, the equity in relation to assets and inhabitants gives a better reflection % 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Equity per inhabitant ( ) Free equity per inhabitant ( ) Equity / exploitation (%) Figure 11: Equity 33

35 Equity position in relation to inhabitants The equity per inhabitant dropped already since 2010 trough declining reserves and an increasing population dropped. End 2010 the equity was per inhabitant and in 2012 it was It is expected that the equity will drop further to less than per inhabitant in 2016: only 983. A remark should be made to the oppressive nature of the destination reserves and the maintenance provisions. For these reserves is already made a specific destination. The proportion that is really available as buffer capacity is much lower; the general reserve only. The province of South Holland recommends a minimum general reserve of ± 4% of the total budget, which is over 4 million for the municipality X. The province Utrecht recommends a non-mandatory reserve of 150 per capita as necessary. In 2012 there was 19,3 million and thus 382 in reserves available per inhabitant. This goes back to 13,5 million and 256 per inhabitant in The municipality is thus comfortably above the standard of the two provinces. Hidden reserves When an asset is lower than the market value or is still salable when it s written off, then it s called a hidden reserve. The sale of these assets generates profits, which can be freely deployed. Municipalities can have two types of hidden reserves: Hidden reserves in material possessions or in financial assets. Municipalities should be extremely careful in determining the hidden reserves because the salability of property and assets is in many cases questionable. Especially in times like these with a difficult property market. There is currently an research being held to hidden reserves in the property sector, so the hidden reserves are not known. Because of these difficulties is provisionally no hidden reserve taken into account. In an future stress test should the results of the research included. Outstanding loans Table 6 shows the outstanding loans in both absolute as relative terms has declined sharply in the last years. The municipality virtually doesn t borrow to third parties anymore to limit the risks. The proportion of outstanding loans is with 2% of the attracted long-term loans relatively low compared to other municipalities. The municipality is going to provide an amount of maximum 1 million next year for loans to starters on the housing market. This will increase the total of outstanding loans a little. * Diff. Outstanding loans Attracted long-term loans Outstanding loans as % of long-term loans Table 6: Outstanding loans % 5% 4% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% -6% 34

36 Numbers * 1000 Debt position According to Van der Lei (2010, 2011), Smits (2012) and Elsenaar (2012) is the debt position one of the key indicators to determine the financial position of a municipality. The debt position is therefore measured by multiple variables, namely: Debt ratio, net debt per inhabitant, net debt in relation to the exploitation and the debt quote. Debt ratio Figure 12 shows the various components of the gross debt ,0% 80,0% 70,0% 60,0% 50,0% Gross debt ( ) Long-term debt ( ) ,0% 30,0% 20,0% 10,0% Net debt ( ) Debt-ratio (%) ,0% Figure 12: Development debt position The gross debt has increased sharply over the last years. The long-term debt largely determines the gross debt. The other components (short-term debt, other provisions and accrued liabilities) provide only a small augmentation in the total gross debt. The gross debt of 139 million in 2008 has increased to 188 million in This increase is due to the increase in long-term debt of 109 million in 2008 to 171 million in This rise in long-term debt was necessary to adopt the total book value of the ground project A.W. from the partnership A.W. BV/CV in The cooperation with two other parties in an PPS-constructions is terminated due to financial problems. The municipality has therefore taken the total ground development program upon them. The gross debt as a share of total assets, also known as the debt ratio, has therefore increased from 62% in 2010 to 71% in This means that the assets of the municipality are for a very large extent financed with debt. According to the VNG and Zandvoort (2012) is a factor of 80% a very high degree of debt finance. Currently, the ratio is high with 71%, but it expected that ratio will be about 80% in

37 Net debt The net debt is the gross debt with an adjustment for the financial current assets and outstanding loans. That is why the net debt is somewhat lower than the gross debt (see figure 12). Table 7 and figure 9 show the net debt per inhabitant. This variable is very suitable for making a comparison with other municipalities. The net debt per inhabitant rises from in 2008 to in The strong increase in 2011, as a result of the acquisition of A.W., can be very well seen in both figures. The net debt per inhabitant will, through an increasing population, stabilize around per inhabitant after Diff. Net debt (* ) Inhabitants Net debt per inhabitant ( ) Gross debt / Exploitation (%) Net debt / Exploitation (%) 101% 109% 117% 122% 168% 169% 175% 183% 180% 79% 79% 84% 90% 100% 146% 147% 152% 158% 157% 78% Table 7: Debt per inhabitant and pertaining to exploitation The average net debt per inhabitant of all municipalities in the Netherlands was in 2009 and in The net debt per inhabitant in the municipality X was about average in these years. As a result of the increased net debt per inhabitant (up to per inhabitant in one year) it is expected that the net debt per inhabitant for X is shifted significantly above the average in the Netherlands. This average for 2011 is not yet known % 160% 140% 120% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Net debt per inhabitant Net debt / exploitation Figure 13: Development net debt position 36

38 Debt in relation to exploitation The debt in relation to the exploitation, also known as the debt quote, gives a good indication of the debt pressure on the exploitation. Research by Van der Lei (2011) concluded that the average gross debt as a share of the exploitation for all Dutch municipalities was 86% on December 31, The gross debt of X was a lot higher with 109%. Thereafter the percentage increased significantly to 168% in Since the average gross debt for Dutch municipality s end 2012 is not known, there is no comparison possible. However, it may be stated that it is way above the expected average. In order to get a better picture, I ll use the net debt in relation to the exploitation, to circumvent possible differences in accounting rules (regarding working capital). Van der Lei (2011) and VNG (2010) emphasize that a net debt of less than 50% of the exploitation is good. A net debt over 100% means a vulnerable financial position and where caution is advised. However, a net debt of more than 150% of the exploitation is too high and dangerous. The net debt in relation to the exploitation is since 2008 increased from 79% to 146%. This means that the municipality has a high or even a very high debt pressure. It is expected that the net debt still slightly increases in the coming years together with a stabilization of the total income, resulting in a net debt up to 157%. This represents a dangerous financial position. The municipality has experienced a sharp decline of the total income in recent years, and is therefore seen as a shrinking municipality. When a municipalities have declining revenues, additional repayments are needed to retain a constant debt quote. But since the debt has risen sharply in recent years and thus no additional payments have been made, the debt quote has increased. This is explained by the shift from structural growth in income (until 2011) to a decrease in income (from 2012). The municipality should have switched from a structural borrowing behavior to structural surpluses, to maintain a constant debt quote. However, this has not been the case, whereby the debt quote is exploded between 2010 and 2012, from 90% to 146%. Loans used for ground exploitations Table 8 shows to what extent the loans are used to finance the ground exploitations. Approximately 90% of the loans are used to finance the ground exploitations in The table shows that this percentage will strongly decline after This movement is mainly due to the declining ground exploitations. The loans are more used for financing the assets after These assets, especially the tangible assets, will increase substantially (see appendix 6). 37

39 Numbers * 1000 * Diff. Loans (Long and short) Ground exploitation (stock and provision) Ground exploitation in % of loans Loans not for ground exploitation Loans -/- Ground exploitation Loans -/- Ground exploitation in % of exploitation Table 8: Loans and destination Finance structure and explanations % 67% 83% 86% 90% 66% 65% 63% 54% -15% 31% 33% 17% 14% 10% 34% 35% 37% 46% 15% % 36% 20% 17% 17% 58% 61% 68% 83% 52% Figure 14 shows the finance structure of the municipality. As we saw the individual movements in equity and debt, we see how they adhere to each other. It is clear and striking to see that the gross debt and the equity are moving away from one another. The derived solvency rate and debt ratio make thereafter the same movement. It should be noted that is assumed that the financial current assets, current liabilities and accrued expenses remain the same after ,0% 80,0% 70,0% 60,0% 50,0% 40,0% 30,0% 20,0% 10,0% 0,0% Equity ( ) Gross debt ( ) Solvency rate (%) Debt-ratio (%) Figure 14: Finance structure 38

40 Interest expenses The interest- expenses and benefits of the municipality X consist of the following components: - Interest for attracted long-term loans; - Interest for attracted short-term loans; - Saved interest through reserves and provisions. For the destination reserves for investments, and the provisions for alderman pensions and negative ground complexes is 5% interest calculated and added to the relevant reserve or provisions; - On the remaining reserves is calculated 1% interest. One third is added to the general reserve and two third is for the benefit of the operations; - Interest for outstanding loans. The total interest expenses are reducing, as a solid component, the flexibility of the total budget. The total capital costs are the sum of interest expenses and the depreciations. The depreciations are the decreases in book value of the assets. In a municipality this are the fixed assets with economic utilities. The capital costs are mapped in table 9. * Diff. Interest expenses long-term loans Interest expenses short-term loans Interest expenses own funding Interest income Total interest Depreciation Capital costs Table 9: Capital costs What stands out in the table above is that the interest for the long term loans has increased. Since the interest rate has decreased in recent years, it is obviously due to the increased loan portfolio. The total depreciations show a large increase in This is caused by a high amount of (social) investments that are planned for this year. Social investments are depreciated in one year. Economic investments differ from 2 to 45 years, depended on the kind of investment. * Diff. Total interest Exploitation Interest in % of exploitation 5,27% 6,26% 6,57% 3,59% 6,61% 7,09% 7,68% 7,48% 7,28% 2,0% Capital costs in % of exploitation 10,82% 12,07% 10,11% 10,33% 13,42% 19,46% 16,35% 16,10% 14,59% 3,8% Table 10: Interest and capital costs pertaining to exploitation 39

41 The interest expenses as a percentage of the exploitation remained constant in recent years. The interest expenses were relatively low in 2011, which can be explained by the high exploitation in that year. The interest expenses as a percentage of the exploitation are rising after The interest expenses are in 2014, with 7,68% relative high. Interest expenses of 8% from the exploitation are seen as a high interest pressure. The total capital costs as share of the exploitation emphasizes which part of the exploitation is used for the capital costs. It is interesting to see that this share has increased in recent years and will further increase the coming years. The peak is largely explained by the high depreciation in that year. Interest result A fixed interest rate is calculated upon the book value of the investments (5%) and the ground exploitations (4%). This is charged to the various products and programs. The difference between the interest expenses and the charged interest rate is expressed in the interest result. This result will come fully in favor of the operations. * Diff. General services Ground exploitation Total allocated Interest result Table 11: Interest result A striking feature in table 11 is the increasing interest result. This is explained by the allocated interest (5% for the general services and 4% for the ground exploitations) is much higher than the actual market rate and thus the average interest rate of the long-term loans. The allocation of the interest rate is determined annually in the policy document (Kadernota). The relative high interest- and capital costs are somewhat mitigated by the high interest result in the last years and the coming years. 40

42 Rent-risk-standard The rent-risk-standard is not exceeded in all previous years. This means th at the municipality X scores good on this indicator. However, it is expected that it will be exceeded in the years 2013 and This is due to the extremely high repayment in those years; 43,5 million and 35,5 million respectively. The municipality assumed that repayment funds were generated in 2013 from the ground projects. This will not be the case in 2013, and probably also not in 2014 (see figure 12). That is why the municipality anticipated in 2011 for the risk of refinance, with the attraction of 32 million in long-term loans with deferred payment in * Repayments on long-term loans Standard (20%) Room (+) / Exceeding(-) Table 12: Rent-risk-standard The cash limit is not exceeded for many years in the municipality X. This specifies that the municipality belongs to the 61% of the municipalities that didn t exceed the cash limit (Snelle berichtgeving, ). Provisions Provisions are intended to cover future obligations. They are formed by contributions that are charged to the programs. This results in an even distribution of expenses over several years or the covering of expected losses. As described in the operationalization of indicators (appendix 2), the provisions have all a different nature. All provisions are disaggregated by nature in table 13. Following the BBV, the provision for doubtful debtors are included in the balance sheet item (BSI) other receivables (see appendix 5) and the provision for negative complexes is accounted under the BSI ground stock. * Diff. Pr. liabilities and risks Pr. maintenance Pr. Doubtful Debtors Total provisions (excl. negative grounds) Pr. negative grounds Total provisions Table 13: Provisions 41

43 Numbers * Total provisions Provisions (excl. negative grounds) Provision negative grounds Figure 15: Provisions For all the provisions must be determined whether the provisions are adequate, or that they need additional deposits. The provision for doubtful debtors is created to provide for the recoverability of all receivables. The level of the provision was 1,7 million at 1 January 2012 and 2.1 million at the end of the year. The provision was heightened for any uncollectible (tax) receivables. All old claims are therefore largely equipped. The provision is therefore considered as sufficient. This is also confirmed by the auditor. The provision alderman pensions have been formed for the pensions of former aldermen. An amount of has been deposited in the provision. This concerns a non-budgeted deposit to hold the provision adequate. The provision for temporary school accommodation is formed, as the name suggest, for temporary school accommodations. This provision is currently sufficient. The provision for negative ground complexes is by far the largest provision. The decrease in figure 15 is declared by the closure of the large negative ground exploitation X - Centrum. This provision will be further explained in the section ground exploitations. Maintenance The municipality X has a number of maintenance provisions. These provisions are set for the purpose of spreading the cost of maintenance over several years. Maintenance plans are at the base of these provisions. The regular and periodic maintenance are established in these plans. Only the cost of periodic maintenance is covered by the provision. The cost for regular maintenance is covered by the exploitation. The management plans will be updated once every four years, as regulated in Article 18 of the Financial Regulation of the municipality X (2004). There is a connection made with the management- and maintenance plans to test whether the maintenance provisions are adequate. The provisions maintenance roads and public lighting are not well connected to these plans. Moreover, it is found that the provision maintenance roads shows a negative 42

44 Numbers * 1000 state in accordance the maintenance plan. Additional deposits from the operation result or reserves will probably be needed, as a provision must be positive according to the BBV (Article 44). These finding are also supposed by the auditor during the audit for the financial statements of They argue that the negative state is a result of the systematics of the municipality, which is also common to equalize costs. For the management- and maintenance plans for public lighting has already been made a new concept. There were some under spending s at the other maintenance provisions; the actual expenditure of the provision civil works, the provision sewerage and the provision dredging works were less than 50% of the estimated expenditures. However, the provisions are all sufficient, which is the main requirement. Ground exploitations The ground policy has significant financial impact on the overall financial position of the municipality, because of very large amounts and risks associated with these exploitations. The current economic situation will determine the ground exploitations. The result of all exploitations is depending on estimation of the future development of costs and revenues, based on indicators. If reality differs from these assumptions, it will lead to an adjustment of the profit expectations. When the budget accounts for profits out of the exploitations, there is a certain pressure on the exploitations to actually realize them. After all; when budgeted profits are not realized, there is a direct coverage problem in the budget. Lower sales of grounds than have a direct effect on the regular operation. Applying the precautionary principle in the valuation of the ground exploitations is therefore essential. A second note Land Policy is accepted by the council of X on 19 February The framework, principles and strategy are described in this document for the current ground policy. This document states that expected losses are recognized when they are foreseeable and inevitable. Profits are only taken after realization of them. In the long-term budget of the municipality X are such gains therefore not been booked Ground exploitation Not in exploitation taken grounds Provision negative grounds Total Figure 16: Development ground stock 43

45 Grounds in exploitation The trends of the ground stock on the base of previous mentioned components are displayed in figure 16. It is clear to see that the ground project A.W. have been retained in 2011; the book value of the ground exploitation have risen strongly that year. The total book value of the grounds in exploitation is currently 127,2 million. The ground exploitation A.W. is almost half (47%) of the total book value of the grounds that are in exploitation at the end of The pace of exploitation is of crucial importance because of the high book value. Not realizing the expected pace of exploitation has huge risks. The high book value is largely due to the high acquisition costs. Figure 16 shows that the total book value of the ground stock will decline after The ground exploitation have been updated early in The municipality expects to sell the grounds at a moderate pace. Previously was a faster sales forecast taken into account. However, this forecast is adjusted through the current economic crises. The financial scenarios will come back extensively on the sale of the ground exploitations. Ground exploitation (* 1000) 2012 A.W Business Park H B-II X - Centre Other exploitations Total Table 14: Book value ground exploitations Not taken into exploitation grounds The total book value of the not taken into exploitation grounds is currently 13,7 million. The valuation of these grounds should, in accordance to the BBV, at maximum be equal to the market value. The municipality carried out a taxation in December 2012, for about ten potential development locations. This taxation confirmed that the book value of these grounds is equal to this appraised value, which means that the municipality acts in accordance with the BBV. Grounds N.T.I.E. (* 1000) 2012 O.P O.W N.R.S Other not taken into exploitation taken grounds Total Table 15: Book value of not into exploitation taken grounds 44

46 Provisions for negative complexes The expected results for negative ground exploitations are made on the base of the actualization of the ground exploitations on the first of January In this actualization is an overview displayed on the development of the earnings per ground project. The increase of the negative results is largely due to the adjustments of the revenues-parameter and the reduction of the ground prices. The increase of revenues for the period is set from 1% to 0%. In addition, a number of risks are included in the ground exploitations, so the result has deteriorated. * Balance per Complement Settlement of closed complexes Balance per Table 16: Book value of provisions negative ground exploitations The provision for negative ground exploitations has increased considerably in recent years. While the provision was 18 million in 2008, it increased with 54% to almost 28 million in 2012 in a period of four years. However, it is expected that this provision will fall sharply in This is due to the completion of the ground exploitation X Centre. For this ground exploitation was a provision of 18,4 million created. This provision will expire to offset the negative ground exploitation. For four other exploitations is also made a provision, namely: Boezem II ( 5,6 million), Vrijenban ( 0,8 million), Lint Oude Leede ( 0,7 million) en A.W. ( 2,9 million). For the remaining 107 million of ground exploitation is a provision of 10 million. The question is whether these provisions are sufficient. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that the pace of exploitation is of crucial importance and the risks are very high. Development of Ground exploitation As said, the forecasts for the ground exploitations are recently revised and delayed sales are considered. The original and the revised forecast of the number of house sales are shown in table 16. Year Original forecast Revised forecast Table 17: Sales forecast housing The forecasts connect through this revision better to the current situation on the housing market, which is very poor. The figures give therefore a better picture of the ground exploitations. 45

47 Numbers * 1000 Stockquote Figure 17 shows that the stock relative to the exploitation has increased significantly in recent years. The municipality has a higher stock than the total income in 2012; a stock quote of 104%. It is expected, as already stated above, that the ground stock will decline to This will result in a stock ratio of 81% % 100% % 60% 40% 20% Groundstock Provided loans to third parties Exploitation Stockratio (%) % Figure 17: Development stockquote Debtquote - Stockquote As was stated earlier at the debt indicator: a high net debt is in principle not that bad for a municipality, if there are high inventories in the form of ground stock and loans to third parties in return (van der Lei, 2011). When the stock quote of the municipality X is compared to the debt quote, there is a striking phenomenon to see. The debt quote, as well as the stock quote, have increased from 2008 to This trend, together with the conclusion of table 8, that showed that a large part of the debt is used to finance the stocks, show that the high debt quote is explained by the high inventories that are in return (especially the stock of grounds). That is why the debt, although it s very high, is not necessarily problematic Diff. Debtquote 50% 50% 66% 75% 104% 97% 97% 96% 81% 30% Stockquote 79% 84% 90% 100% 146% 147% 152% 158% 157% 78% Debtquote-stockquote 28% 34% 24% 26% 42% 50% 54% 62% 76% 48% Table 18: Ratio debtquote-stockquote However, the debt quote increases slightly after 2012 to 157% in 2016, while the stock quote id decreasing sharply to only 81%. So we will see that after 2012 the ratio between the debt and the stock quote will seriously be disrupted. This is reflected in the relation between ground exploitation and loans, as was shown in table 8; In 2012 was 90% of the loans used for ground exploitation, but in 2016 this is only 54% (table 8). The proportion of (in)tangible fixed assets therefore increased from 10% to 46% of the loans. 46

48 The debt is thus increasingly used to finance (in)tangible assets. So in 2016 there are no high inventories in return to the debt, which certainly makes the high debt problematic. These developments are shown in figure % 160% 140% 120% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Debtquote Stockquote Debtquote-stockquote Figure 18: Debtquote in relation to stockquote Related parties The municipality X have included an expose of the related parties as a section in the annual report. As part of the risk management has the municipality X implemented an internal inventory of the extent and degree of exposure to financial risks arising from the related parties. The vision on related parties are included in the Note related parties. One of the policy principles is that the municipality does not proceed to establish or participate in a private legal entity, except when a public interest can t be charged through a different manner. In addition, the activities of the related party should fit within the program-frameworks that are defined by the council. The related parties are presented in appendix 6, together with the related interest and risks. The municipality X assesses the (financial) risks regarding their related parties, based on interim information and information from representatives of the municipality in the general and daily management from the related parties. The GGD and the waste collection firm (A.) ask for specific attention. The GGD has obtained a negative result in 2011 and It is expected that this will continue in the coming years. External research shows that the waste collection firm A. is not in control. Changes in the management of A. have occurred on the base of these findings. Besides, a professor has been appointed to investigate the governance within A.. Given these developments at A. and the GGD, the portfolio holders of Finance from different municipalities (located in the region) initiated a regional audit for all related parties. The first audit is at the GGD and the report of findings will be ready in mid There are some considerable risks in terms of related parties within the municipality X. These risks are well-known and the municipality have anticipated on these risks. The majority of the risks are in addition included in the section resistance power, so that these risks are taken into account within the resistivity of the municipality. 47

49 Guarantees Table 19 shows which loans are guaranteed by the municipality X. The total amount of guaranteed loans is 157 million. Of these loans is the municipality for nearly 17 million for 100% guarantee. A guarantee of 11,7 million, which is issued to ABB Realty, is by far the largest full guaranteed loan. The municipality has embedded sufficient (financial) collateral for this guarantee; a bank guarantee, a claim against the ABB and in the worst case is appealed to the municipality as a bail. The municipality owns that the unsold shops and houses. The value of these shops and houses is high enough to cover the loan. In addition, it is highly likely that this guarantee is no longer applicable in A tertiary backstop agreement through guarantee of housing (WSW-guarantee) applies to the remaining 140 million in loans. This security structure consists of three layers: - Primary security: the financial resources of the corporation. The liquidity position and the equity of a corporation. The WSW sets requirements for the creditworthiness. - Secondary security: The guaranteed reserves of the WSW. If corporations can t comply their interest- and repayment obligations, then the lender may appeal to the WSW. They possess a guarantee reserve of more than 3,7 billion (end of 2011). - Tertiary security: Government and the municipalities. If these securities prove to be insufficient for the obligations, the municipalities provide interest-free loans (WSW, 2012). The risk that municipalities take for this security structure is theoretical: It consists of providing a relatively small interest-free loan, which the WSW will repay in time. This only occurs when a corporation can t meet its obligations and the capital of the WSW appears inadequate. If it comes to a claim, the collective municipalities are standing guarantee for 25% of the liquidity deficit. The government support 50% and the other remaining 25% will be charged to the concerning municipalities (WSW, 2012). * Diff. Institutions and associations WSW Other guarantees Total Table 19: Guarantees We see that the total of guaranteed loans by the municipality has decreased in recent years. Additionally, the majority of the loans consists of the security structure of the WSW. The 17 million where the municipality stands full guarantee, is 88% of the general reserve. This indicates a relatively high percentage of guarantees. It should be noted that the guaranteed loan to the ABB, which is well in control, deteriorated the score seriously. If the guarantee in 2013 doesn t apply anymore, it will greatly improve the score to about 30%. This is an average guarantee rate. 48

50 Numbers * 1000 Budget As stated earlier in this thesis, all previous mentioned indicators are important to assess the financial position of the municipality, but a balanced budget is the most important indicator. Within the municipality X the budget is therefore strongly directed and controlled. Balance for appropriation Table 20 and figure 19 show the results of recent years and the budget for the coming years. * Income for appropriation Expenses for appropriation Balance/ Result for appropriation Withdrawals out reserves Deposits in reserves Changes in reserves Balance / Result after appropriation Table 20: Balance before and after appropriation Balance for appropriation Withdrawals out reserves Deposits in reserves Changes in reserves Balance after appropriation Figure 19: Balance before and after appropriation The balance for appropriation has major fluctuations in recent years. However, the average balance for appropriation was positive. The movements in reserves also exhibit large fluctuations, where should be noted that more is withdrawn from the reserves than is deposited. The high deposits and withdrawals in 2011 are explained by the acceptance of a new note reserves and provisions. These large peaks are mainly caused by shifts between from a reserve to another reserve. 49

51 We see a different and worrisome picture after The budgeted balance before appreciation is negative in all years. The reserves are therefore addressed to get the result after appreciation in balance. The budget for 2015 and 2016 however, is still not balanced after appropriation. The conclusion from these figures is that the municipality X has a negative balance for appropriation for all years, are significantly utilizing the reserves and the multiannual budget is not balanced. These are worrying findings. There are currently cutbacks planned to get the multiannual budget still in balance. This will be a hard cutback operation, because the deficits are relative large (almost 2 million structural after 2016). Structural income and expenses Structural expenses should be covered with structural income. This is the case for the years 2008 to 2012, when the structural income transcend the structural expenses. The expenses are on average, covered by 102% of the structural income. The expectation however, is that this percentage will drop to only 95% of the structural income. The structural benefits don t cover the structural expenses in that case, which is not justified for the long-term. Golden balance rule The ratio of the sum of total fixed funding and fixed assets is shown in table 21. The golden balance rule suggest that the fixed assets (including the ground stock) should be entirely financed with long-term liabilities (reserves, provisions and long-term debt). * Diff. Equity (incl. operating result) Provisions Long-term debt Long-term available Fixed assets Stock Long-term established Financing surplus/deficit Finance structure 103% 106% 108% 106% 104% 97% 95% 94% 99% -4% Table 21: Financing The municipality X adheres strictly to the golden balance rule according to table 21. In all years, from 2008 to 2012, there was more than sufficient long-term liabilities held for the financing of long-term assets. There was always a financing surplus of at least 3%. It is expected that there will be a funding gap in the coming years, that even will increase to 14,3 million in Not all fixed and ground stock are then financed with long-term liabilities, but partly by short-term financing. This is not a problem, as long as the previous mentioned cash limit will not be exceeded. 50

52 Numbers * 1000 Incidental income and expenses Structural income should be covered by structural benefits. At the other hand may incidental expenses be covered by incidental incomes, but this isn t necessarily. The incidental benefits in X exceed the incidental expenses in almost all years; this is also shown in figure 20. This is why the balance of incidental incomes and expenses is generally positive Incidental income Incidental expenses Balance Figure 20: Incidental income and expenses The incidental income exceed the incidental expenses with almost 50% on average over the last five years. This is 1,9% of the total income. It is expected that the incidental income and expenses would be in balance. Budget flexibility The results of a calculation of the budget flexibility are shown in the table below. This calculation is made on the base of a few assumptions, which are specified and explained at each task-field. The total budget flexibility in X is million. Task-field Incidental / Structural Flexibility (* 1000) Multi-annual budget and space I/S Reserves I Additional policy I/S - Investments projects I Cost covering of fees and charges S Local charges S Personnel S 932 Subsidies and expenditures for culture S - Maintenance level S - Total Table 22: Flexibility in budget 51

53 Multiannual budget and room for maneuver The multiannual budget is the basis and starting point of this stress test. This multiannual shows a small surplus for the years 2013 and For 2015 and 2016 however, the result represents a (structural) deficit. The deficit in the multiannual budget is seen as room for maneuver. Hence the result is negative, the room for maneuver is negative in table 22. Reserves When the municipality is in a stressful financial position, it will seek to all possible resources that can be made available. That s why all the free and deployable reserves and deployable destination reserves are taken into account. For the actual deployment of destination reserves is still a change in policy by the council required. The flexibility with regard to the reserves is in the: - General reserve ultimo 2012 (incl. operating result): 19,3 million; - The destination reserves for the capital costs of historical investments are not available for deployment; - The destination reserves BOVO can partly be accounted to the potential flexibility. Part of the reserve however is reserved for contributions and investment projects. These projects are often established with other parties and therefore are fixed. It is assumed that half of the BOVO reserves can be allocated as flexible; 9,2 million. - The other destination reserves are analyzed on availability for occasional coverage in case of a stressful situation. This analysis is made with a specialized official and is made on the degree of availability, nature and strictness of the destination reserves. The analysis show that 5,9 million can be made available. Additional policy At most municipalities it is normal to map the space for additional policy in the multiannual budget. However, there is no room for additional policy in the municipality X for the coming years. Hence, there are no resources that can be deployed as flexible room. Investment projects The municipality is executing a large number of investment projects in 2013 and Those investment will be charged incidental or structural to the budget. There are some major projects (the MFA K., the Eastern Ring and the K-street), but also many smaller projects. The municipality can choose to delay or even to quit some projects in order to be able to cushion with a stressful situation. Flexibility will be created in the budget and in the released reserves by taken these measures. Regarding the projects could be mapped which resources can be made available by changing the policy. These calculations prove that about 1 million in 2013 and 5,8 million in 2014 can be made available. 52

54 Cost recovery fees & charges Earlier in this thesis was explained that additional resources can be made through the recovery rate of fees and charges. Because a lot of services are not cost-effective, structural funds may be imposed to recover all the services-costs. Local charges The room for maneuver or to increase revenues is limited within the local charges. In addition to the above mentioned fees and charges, the municipality has room to increase the property tax revenues. The room in table 22 is calculated by taken the difference between the most expensive municipality in terms of property tax (a so called art. 12-municipality ) and the municipality X. A strong increase in property tax is undesirable, since the municipality X already has a relative high tax burden compared to the average in the Netherlands. Personnel The budgeted annual cost for personnel of the municipality X is approximately 19 million. Much of these costs are fixed through the permanent contracts. The flexibility is primarily focused on the flexible layer, since here are possibilities to create space on the short term. The natural turnover is not included in the calculation for flexibility. The calculated room comprises: - The temporary contracts that should not be renewed. Based on the annual costs in recent years and the forecasts for the coming years is assumed that by not renewing the temporary contracts, 0,83 million can be saved. - External hiring and the hiring of specialists will largely be stopped. Only the replacement with prolonged diseases and hiring for peak-pressure will continue. The budget for hiring has been greatly reduced in the long-term budget, so only 0,1 million could be saved with these measures. Subsidies and expenditures for culture Since the subsidies and spending s on culture recently have been reduced in the municipality, it is assumed that no significant flexibility can be found in this task field. Maintenance level A reduction of the maintenance level is currently not included in the calculation for the flexibility. This should be included in a future stress test. Based on calculations at other municipalities, it is expected that little flexibility can be found in this task field. 53

55 4.2 Scenario Testing 1 Financial crisis The first financial scenario involves a financial crisis. This crisis is formulated through rising interest rates (short- and long-term interest) and a rising inflation. The interest, according to the base path of the CPB is increased by a surcharge rate. For the heavy scenario a surcharge of 1% per year will be calculated and for the extreme scenario 1,5% per year. The rising interest rate shall be calculated for newly concluded loans. In addition, it is assumed that the total short-term loans will remain at the same average level of 10 million. The consequences for the municipality are shown in table 23. The municipality is facing additional interest expenses of 6,264 million over four years in the heavy scenario. The effect is even 9,396 million over four years in the extreme scenario. Rising interest is often a response to rising inflation. Hence, the rising inflation is also included in the model. Because the interest income, the interest expenses and the depreciation become net worth less in real terms, this has a positive effect on municipal finances. It is assumed that all other charges and income grow with the inflation rate. The adjustment for inflation in a heavy scenario is consequently 2,338 million and 3,506 million in an extreme scenario. Variable Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean Long-term interest Heavy Extreme Short-term interest Heavy Extreme Inflation Heavy Extreme Table 23: Results scenario financial crisis per variable The negative effect of a financial crisis that is accompanied by a rising inflation is in a heavy scenario 3,926 million, which represents an average of approximately 1 million a year. The negative effect of an extreme financial crisis amounts to 5,89 million, which equates to almost 1,5 million on average per year. Variable Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean Rising interest Heavy Extreme Including inflation Heavy Extreme Table 24: Results scenario Financial crisis 54

56 2 Social-economic crisis The second scenario, a socio-economic crisis, is characterized by lower economic growth and rising unemployment. The results are shown in table 25. It is expected that the income of market funds, taxes, fees (except construction fees, which are treated in the scenario of a real estate crisis) and dividends decline with the assumed percentages, mentioned in table 3. It is expected that the expenditures on WMO and education subsidies increase. This results in 0,409 million for additional expenses and losses of income in the heavy scenario and 0,825 million in the extreme scenario. Variable Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean Economic growth Heavy Extreme Unemployment Heavy Social assistance Extreme Total Heavy Extreme Table 25: Results scenario Social-economic crisis It is expected that the number of social assistance receivers increases during a crisis by 3% in the heavy and 5% in the extreme scenario. That s why the own risk of the municipality, which is 7,5% of all additional costs, increases. In addition, the municipal fund is calculated and paid on the information known at the beginning of each year. As the number of receivers increased during a year in relation to the national average, the municipality receives no compensation for these new receivers. These two developments result in additional costs of 0,381 million in the heavy scenario and 0,973 million in the extreme scenario. The total effects of a socio-economic crisis in an extreme scenario reach up to 1,798 million for four years. The overall effect is limited to 0,791 million in a heavy scenario. 55

57 3 Real estate crisis The forecast for future results of the ground exploitations are revised to assess the appreciation of inventories at the end of 2012.This revision is included in the new exploitation plans by January 1, Two important measures are made to control the results of the ground exploitation; (1) the phasing of the ground exploitation and (2) the adjustment of the estimated revenues increase from 1% to 0% for the period The financial effects of these adjustments are incorporated in the financial statements of These current forecasts are considered by the municipality to be the most likely scenario. The development department has developed alternative scenarios that may arise in the parameters or the planning. These scenarios were made at the request of the council due to the uncertain economic conditions. These scenarios are used to generate a heavy and extreme scenario for the real estate crisis in this stress test. The variables for the scenarios are: Heavy: Revenue increase of 0% to the end of all projects and a three years delay of sales for the most important projects. Extreme: Revenue increase of -1% for the years 2014 to 2018 and 0% thereafter and a five years delay of sales for the most important projects. The scenarios of the municipality make clear that, depending on the development in the housing market, the results can still be (significantly) worse than the revised forecasts. The municipality indicates these scenarios as less likely. However, the effect of the scenarios have a large negative bandwidth, as can be seen in table, 26. Variable Scenario Total Decline of revenues Heavy (-0,5%) Extreme (-1%) Delay Heavy (3 year) Extreme (5 year) Total Heavy Extreme Table 26: Results scenario Real estate crisis The total negative effects of a real estate crisis in an extreme scenario are large, approximately 27,9 million. In the heavy scenario is a negative effect assumed of almost 14 million. Thus the deterioration from the most likely scenario has a large impact on the financial position of the municipality. 56

58 4 Number of citizens The number of citizens has a high dependence with the sales of grounds and the housing forecast. As the effect of a decline in ground sales on the number of citizens has already been taken into account, it won t be included in this scenario. A delay in growth of the population has also effects on the height of the municipal fund and the tax-income. Because there is a constant growth of the population in the recent decades (see figure 1) and there is also a growth expected for the coming years, a stabilization of the current population is an extreme scenario. A slight increase of the current population is seen as a heavy scenario. The number of citizens is yet adjusted downwards, when drafting the framework document 2013 (kadernota 2013), due to the housing forecasts. The decline in the municipal fund is calculated on the basis of a program that projects the income from the municipal fund. An adjustment for the expected number of citizens provides the effects in table 27. The effects on the property tax revenues are calculated by reducing the forecasted property tax with the same percentage as the decline of the population. Variable Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean Decline of Municipal fund Heavy Extreme Decline of OZB Heavy Extreme Total decline Heavy Extreme Table 27: Results scenario Number of citizens The overall effect of a constant population, the extreme scenario, is more than 0,9 million. The negative effect in the heavy scenario is 0,45 million. 57

59 5 Government Retrenchment The table below shows the effect of a cut in the government spending s. The deferred coalition agreement, which is deferred through the social agreement, is the base of this scenario. It is namely very likely that these cuts will still take place when the economic developments are disappointed and lower than expected. The retrenchments regarding the decentralizations are not included in this scenario, but will be addressed in the scenario decentralizations. The other government retrenchments that have been included are: Accres, the skimming of school housing, abolishing the VAT compensation fund, reversing reducing political officials, reversing polarization correction and intensifying poverty policy. In addition to the deferred retrenchments is an estimated additional retrenchment of 4 billion in the heavy scenario and 10 billion in the extreme scenario. It is assumed that these additional retrenchments will occur in 2015 and The last effect is from the revision of the allocation model for the municipal fund. The heavy scenario assumes that the share of the municipality X remains the same, while the proportion in the extreme scenario will decline with 0,5%. This revision of the allocation model has a result of more than 0,57 million. Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean Heavy Extreme Table 28: Results scenario Government Retrenchment The total impact of a government retrenchment on the financial position of the municipality is large: In the effect is almost 6 million in the heavy scenario, while the effect is more than 7,5 million in the extreme scenario. 58

60 6 Decentralizations About the size and distribution of the decentralizing budgets (WMO, Youth Care and Participation act) is currently a discussion and there are therefore still many uncertainties. There should, in principle, transfer only one budget for the sum of the decentralized budgets. The scenarios are defined, based on the present calculations of the decentralization. It is assumed that the municipality will achieve little or no savings of costs through the decentralizations. The expected reduction of the government is therefore the negative effect in the heavy scenario, so no costs savings are made. An extra discount is calculated in the extreme scenario. Variable Scenario Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total Mean WMO Heavy (0,158%) Extreme (0,21%) Youth care Heavy (0,34%) Extreme (0,50%) Total Heavy Extreme Table 29: Results scenario Decentralizations WMO There was always a national budget for the WMO (before the EMEA) of 6,8 billion. The expected reduction on the decentralized budget will be 1,58 billion. The reduction consists of the cutbacks on domestic help, the recycling of scoot mobiles and several other small cutbacks on EMEA tasks. The customization of income support mitigates the negative effects of the cutbacks somewhat. The current share of the municipality X is 0,158% of the total national WMO budget. This share in budget is also the starting point for the calculation of the expected budget and the expected reductions in the heavy scenario. The extreme scenario is calculated on the base of the share in the municipal fund. This is also the share in the cutbacks. These assumption result in a negative impact over four years of 11 million in the heavy scenario and 14,7 million in the extreme scenario. Youth care The budget for youth care is approximately 3 billion. There will probably be a reduction carried out of 380 million on the total budget. This reduction consists of an efficiency discount, a reduction in the coalition agreement and through the removing of barriers in the youth care. The current share of the municipality X is 0,34% of the total national budget for youth care. This share in budget is also the starting point for the calculation of the expected budget and the expected reductions in the heavy scenario. This will result in a negative effect of 2,3 million over four years. The extreme scenario is calculated through an increased share of 0,5% of the total cutback. This results in a negative impact of 3,5 million over four years. 59

61 Participation Act The replacement for the Work Capacity Act, the Participation Act, shall be introduced with a certain delay. The introduction of the new act will probably not be entered until There should be 1,8 billion savings in costs for the whole budget, but the discount is not entered directly. This is mainly spread out to later years. Hence it is expected that the decentralization of the Participation Act has little effect until 2017 and there it is excluded from this scenario. The movements and effects of the Participation Act are outlined in figure 21. Old Act New Participation Act Figure 21: Effects of the Participation Act 60

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